Blue Point Brewing & Sayville Running Company 10 Mile Run to the Brewery

8:15 on a Saturday morning in January isn’t exactly a prime visiting hour for most breweries, especially when a 10 mile run in below freezing temperatures is required before the first pint is poured. But that didn’t stop over 1,200 runners from showing up bright and early at Blue Point Brewery for the 2015 10 Mile Run to the Brewery.
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We arrived at Blue Point at around 7:45, with a half hour to race time. Parking didn’t seem to be an issue, as there were a couple people directing traffic. Kevin dropped me off while he snagged a spot in the train station parking lot and I headed to the brewery. A heated tent was set up outside where runners and spectators could stay warm, there were multiple port a potties with a very short wait time and a bag check was also available.

At 8:05 announcements were made directing runners to the starting line, which was right in front of the brewery on River Avenue. Though it was cold, enthusiasm was high and at promptly 8:15 am the race began and we were off. Timing mats were set up at the start, five mile mark and finish so even runners that started in the back of the crowd would get an accurate finishing time (always a welcome feature at larger races.)

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The course itself is generally flat compared to some other Long Island races (I’m looking at you, Cow Harbor), with a few hilly patches that aren’t anything to stress over. This year the route was run in reverse from previous years, but all that really meant to me was that I passed the water earlier than I remember last year. The scenery is pretty diverse as well, with a few stretches near the Patchogue River which gave a nice, distracting harbor view. [Side note: Kevin and I have both lived on Long Island our entire lives and had to Google, “What is the water in Blue Point called?”] So anyway, the course overall is fairly flat, scenic and there are a lot of turns which I personally like. There were never any real long stretches of just running straight down a road. Spectators weren’t exactly lining the entire route, but there were definitely some people cheering along the way which is always nice to see. After crossing the finish line I was reunited with Kevin, we took the short five minute walk back to the brewery and then…

The after party! I don’t usually love to stick around after races, especially when it is freezing out, but Blue Point really knows how to celebrate 1,200 people having just run ten miles. Two massive tents were set up outside the brewery. One had heat lamps and a band, both had tons of food and there was a station set up outside of each where the beer was flowing. We never had to wait for more than maybe 30 seconds which was pretty impressive considering the size of the crowd. On tap were staples Rastafa Rye and Toasted Lager with newer brews Baltic Porter and Helles Lager available among others. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Baltic Porter on tap, though at almost 8% I probably went a little too hard on those. But hey, it was a celebration.

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Overall I’d say this is one of the best race values on Long Island. The course is interesting, everything is well organized (including early bib pick up), the race shirt is a nice, Saucony long sleeve tech shirt, there’s tons of food beyond your typical bananas and bagels and of course there’s the beer. The race sold out extremely quickly this year, so make sure you keep an eye out for the 2016 signup. I know I’ll be there and may just spend the next year trying to talk Kevin into running it too.

Feel free to share any pictures on your Facebook and check out ours for the full gallery!

Another Movember in the Books for Team Blue Point Brewery

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On November 1st, men across the globe began growing mustaches in honor of Movember, a silly name that supports a very serious cause: mens health. You may already know that Movember raises money and awareness of prostate and testicular cancer, but even we were surprised to find out that they fund support of mens mental health issues as well.

This is the third year that Beer Loves Company participated on the Blue Point Brewing Co. team. Blue Point fully supports the cause, assembling a dream team of facial hair and rewards participants with prizes and awesome events. This year there was both a pre and post Movember party at the brewery; the former involved free shaves and the latter featured beer, raffles and an awful lot of moustaches that were noticeably absent just 30 days prior. Though Kevin was able to grow a modest mustache, we were all pretty surprised that Alicia had a full Tom Sellick going after only a couple days. We want to thank all our generous friends, families and supporters who donated and helped us and Team Blue Point raise over $8,000, with a few checks still in the mail . Though Movember is over, the support for mens health continues year round, so visit Movember Headquarters to get involved.

Blue Point Cask Ales Festival 2014: The Aftermath

The 10th Annual Blue Point Cask Ales Festival was held Saturday, April 5th and it was a chance for brewers to serve their real ales to the 1,000+ thirsty patrons. When we weren’t walking around sampling from one of the hundred or so casks, we were at the Brewers East End Revival table serving Woody Appleson, our oak aged cider. This was our first experiment using oak chips and it resulted in a woody, tart and slightly sour cider. We were happy with the final product, as were some of the gluten free patrons at the fest who didn’t have any other beverage options. More on the brewing process coming soon, but for now this is all about the Cask Fest.

Along with the cider, our black saison/wine hybrid was also poured by Joe & Melissa over at the LIBME table, and we heard people enjoyed that as well. One standout came from Todd Long, president of Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts, with an Almond Joy beer. We liked it so much we went home with a 16 oz. growler that we are eager to enjoy again soon. Blue Point had the largest selection of the day, with takes on classics such as a Citrus No Apologies & sour Oatmeal Stout. They also offered pours of Hoptical Illusion right off the fermenter, which is just about as fresh as you’re ever going to get it. Port Jeff Brewing Company had Alicia’s favorite, the porter, with Ethiopian coffee added to the cask. Up and coming St. James Brewery were there in their typical Belgian fashion, pouring both a quad & dark strong ale. The cask fest is always one of the best beer events of the year and since so much goes on in the four short hours that doors are open, we will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Blue Point Brewing Company Acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev – Kevin's Take

(A letter sent to the members of Brewer’s East End Revival)

All,

For us it was not a problem. Alicia and I said that if (for some reason) a large company wanted to buy Beer Loves Company we would totally sell it to them. That would be great for us in the same way that the sale of Blue Point Brewery to ABInbev is good for Mark, Pete and their investors. They are getting rewarded for all of their hard work. Mark & Pete doing well and being successful is a different thing though from what most people seem to be reacting to.

A lot of people see this as a slap in the face because they personally (and mistakenly) feel invested in the company. It is the owners entity, not theirs. So when the owners do good we of course should all say “way to go” and hope for the day when something like that can happen to us.

On the other side of the coin are the people who are interested in it for the beer and how this could change the landscape of local brewing and distribution etc. ABInbev just bought themselves into all of the bars that sell Blue Point. What happens to all of the bars now that touted, “No Crap on Tap” which was code for no Bud, Miller or Coors. Blue Point, as it currently exists, is not crap but through a back channel BMC products are more and more finding their way “on tap”.

In the long run who cares is really the answer to most things but when enough people stop caring what do you end up with? A homogenized product. Success is great and we wish not only Mark & Pete but all of the hard working, fun loving people of Blue Point every bit of success they can have. We want all of our friends to succeed and prosper because we know them. That is what makes a purchase like this initially shocking to many, we suppose. Your friend has decided to turn it over to the unknown entity; something that people see as an evil empire. A company who knowingly watered down their already watered down product for more profits.

By selling to ABInbev Blue Point went from our local brewery to a toenail on the giant’s foot. That may be where some people are having a tough time swallowing this. If they feel that way it is their right, as much as it was Mark & Pete’s (and whoever else may be involved in the decision making process) to sell. There is no right and wrong there are only different perspectives.

Most Americans love an underdog story and that is what Blue Point was. The local underdog. Through the eyes of someone seeing this as a good thing for those involved, finally benefiting from all of their hard work, it is like someone you know finally making it to the Major Leagues. To those who see it as a bad thing it is like Luke Skywalker accepting Darth Vader’s offer and joining him on the Dark Side.

How will this turn out for ABInbev and Blue Point Brewery? Who knows. We hope that everyone involved with the brewery prospers from this and that their customer base still enjoys their product. If nothing changes in their recipes and output (unless for the better) it would be great. Your local beer could be something available nationwide! Think about that, anywhere you go you may be able to drink that same Blueberry Ale you love.

However, “Don’t underestimate the power of the Dark Side”, is something that is drilled into the psyche of people who identify with the Davids and not Goliath. If they are wary of what is to come it is understandable. Change can be hard and is not something which is easy to accept. These people supported a product made by a, “…microbrewery with absolutely no corporate ties”, and not a large conglomerate.

In the end we are happy for the guys at Blue Point. Way to go, you’ve done it. Now just don’t mess with the recipe for your Oatmeal Stout and bring back your ESB!

Kevin b.
Secretary Beer Loves Company

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Day After the Announcment

Blue Point Brewing Company Acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev – Alicia's Take

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So, by now you have all heard the news: Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB) has purchased long time Long Island favorite, Blue Point Brewing Company. As expected, the initial public reaction was less than positive with the word “sellout” being thrown around more than a few times. Former loyal customers are already proclaiming that they will never drink another Blue Point Beer again, while others are bracing for Bud Light to be on tap at the brewery. To be fair, there have been a few congratulations offered, though from what we have seen they are few and far between. But why all the outrage only a mere few hours after the announcement?

There is much speculation that the recipes will change and the Blue Point beer that AB produces will not be on par with what we have come to expect from the brewery.There is also talk of AB moving Blue Point to another state, similar to what happened when they acquired Rolling Rock. This would rob Long Island of their oldest and (arguably) most beloved craft brewery while taking jobs away from the local population. However, none of this has happened yet.

The tasting room has not been open since the announcement was made, but Blue Point has already posted an announcement on their website assuring customers that when they do open on Thursday (we’ll be there) business will proceed as usual. Obviously there is no way for supporters of the brewery to know how this will all pan out, but the overwhelming negative reactions shows that people are expecting the worst.

In the world of craft beer, Bud, Miller and Coors have become the universal enemy. They churn out mass quantities of product that is all about marketing and much of the experimentation and creativity that is involved in the “craft” of brewing alludes them. But enemy or not, there is no denying that they all know how to run a successful business. And as idealistic as any person who is lucky enough to make a living doing something they are passionate about may be, at the end of the day the goal of running a business is to make money. Brewing beer entirely for the love of the craft already exists and it’s called home brewing. It’s a great hobby and many people are content to keep it as just that, never quitting their day jobs. But when your hobby becomes a profession and you have a family to support, employees that depend on you and the desire to keep expanding and introducing your product to new audiences, well, money talks.

We read many comments proclaiming that Blue Point Toasted Lager is bound to become the “new Bud Light”. If this is implying that the recipe will change and the beer will no longer be the one that introduced most of us to the brewery, well, then this is certainly a tragedy. But, it seems the concern is with the beer becoming as accessible as Bud, Miller and Coors, which may not be the worst thing in the world. Blue Point has been responsible for getting many Long Islanders into craft beer and has always been very active and supportive towards the local community. Personally, we would rather see someone at a random bar in the midwest order a Blue Point Toasted Lager over a Bud Light.

Though AB is a giant corporation and money spent on Blue Point beers will now go to them, can you honestly say you are totally supportive of where every dollar you spend goes? Most craft breweries have private investors, do you read up on them before buying a pint? If you don’t want to buy a Bud Light next time you go to the bar, that’s fine, but why stop buying a beer you love just because the owners saw an opportunity to expand and took it? Frankly, no one knows exactly how this will all shake out. Maybe the brewery in Patchogue will turn into a light beer museum with only watered down crap on tap, or perhaps nothing will change and the friendly faces you are used to seeing will still be there despite the change in ownership. All anyone knows right now is that Pete & Mark, two guys who paved the way for countless other craft breweries on Long Island, have been given an opportunity to take their brand to the next level.

Yes, it sucks when you hear the new, major label produced track from your favorite band on the radio. But at the end of the day they are just trying to make a living doing what they love, like most craft brewers are. And let’s be honest, if you put your all into building a small local business for fifteen plus years and were offered a huge influx of capital, wouldn’t you at least entertain the idea?